Monday, April 24, 2017

Discover - Create - Inherit

This afternoon was the second annual Dean's Honor Symposium, where seven teams of students each had 45 minutes to share their work. That makes it sound more conventional than it was, however. Students were grouped in interdisciplinary clusters, and shepherded through the process of preparing a presentation by a faculty member from yet another discipline. The adventure of the liberal arts on display!

As part of DHS I've been meeting weekly with a student who wrote a senior thesis in Culture & Media on online and offline communities in the Kenyan diaspora, an Urban Studies major and dancer who interned with a community arts center in her native Brooklyn, and an Architecture and Philosophy BA/BFA student from China who produced a book of photographs and poems exploring changing experiences of home in China's rapidly changing cities. Amazingly rich and different projects! Forty-five minutes would barely be long enough to share all the interesting work of one of them! What to do?

My team put together an interactive presentation, which "mixed things up" by having each student pose questions to the others about shared issues arising from their work. (Hence the title "Discover-Create-Inherit.") At one point the audience is invited to participate in the same "shakedown" with which dance sessions at the Brooklyn community arts center started. And the globe above makes its way through the audience during the course of the presentation: all were encouraged to place stickers on places they consider "home," so the globe, restored to the center of the room at the end, brought audience and presenters together. Nice work! I'll have a picture of us for you soon!

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